Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

The Barbary States: Carthage


By Thomas Kibble Hervey (1804–1859)

After a Picture by Linton

IS it some vision of the elder day,

Won from the Dead-Sea waters, by a spell

Like hers who waked the prophet?—or a dream

Of burning Egypt,—ere the Libyan sand

Had flung its pall above its perished world,—

Dreamt on its dreary grave, that has no flowers?

It is the eastern orphan’s ocean-home!

The southern queen! the city of the sea,

Ere Venice was a name! the lofty heart

That battled for the empire of the world,

And all but won,—yet perished in the strife!

Now, in her young, proud beauty; the blue waves,

Like vassals, bending low to kiss her feet,

Or dancing to their own sweet minstrelsy!

The olives hanging round her crested front,

Like laurel-crowns upon a victor’s brow!

Beneath her palms, and mid her climbing bowers,

Darts, like a sunny flash, the antelope!

And bound the wild deer, where the severing boughs

Wave forth a goddess! in her hunter-guise,

She wakes the perfumes of the Tyrian’s groves,

To welcome from the waves her pilgrim boy,

And point his tangled pathway, to the towers

That to his homeless spirit speak of home!

Alas! the stately city! it is here,

Here, mid this palace pomp and leafy store,

(Bright as some landscape which the poet sees

Painted, by sunset, on a summer sky,

In hues the dolphin borrows when he dies!)

Mid all this clustering loveliness and life,

Where treads the Trojan,—that, in after years,

A lonelier exile and a loftier chief

Sat amid ruins!